In the aftermath of a divorce, who gets what is sometimes not so easy to determine. Who gets the car? Who gets the snowmobile? Who gets the 51' plasma television? Who gets the lake house? Who gets the debt?
Divorce today encompasses not only division of assets, but also division of debt. With the economy in a constant state of uncertainty and the stock market rising and falling on a daily basis, some divorces are more about who pays what, rather than who gets what.
It’s all about asset allocation and debt payment.
The best way to describe asset and debt division in a divorce is to start by putting all of your combined assets and debts into a pot (your IRA, his 401K, the joint bank accounts, the real estate, her jewelry, his coin and gun collections, the credit card debt, the mortgages, the personal loans ... all of it). Then, divide those assets and debts based on what is equitable and fair. In a long marriage, “fair” generally means 50/50, so the Court will likely divide marital assets and debt (called the “Marital Estate”) equally.
But remember that we also said the Court will divide everything based on what is fair. So for example, if you went to Bermuda with your girlfriends, or your husband went golfing with his friends at Myrtle Beach, it would not be fair for the other party to have to pay those bills.
Real estate appraisers, collections appraisers, Blue Book values, and retirement valuation specialists will help you and your family lawyer focus on the true value of these assets. These people may temporarily become an important part of your divorce lawyer team.
If you think you may be headed toward divorce, here’s some good advice: Collect and hold onto your bank and retirement statements, tax returns, appraisals, mortgage statements, and monthly debt statements. Become an organized hoarder of records and documents, because they will become necessary parts of your divorce later on.
When it comes to dividing assets and debts, don’t compromise. Rely on Celenza Family Law's divorce lawyer and team for Experience, Focus, and Understanding.